In 2018 SUVs and large pickups stole the spotlight, but 2019 may well be the year of the midsize pickup. The revised new 2019 Chevrolet Colorado arrives like a Swiss army knife, able to meet all the needs of the segment. The elegant pickup is available in four trim versions - WT, LT, Z71 and ZR2 - with the option to choose either an extended cab or a Crew Cab. It’s a vehicle that can blend into the masses with its commercial version or tackle dangerous trails in ZR2 form.
We tested the Z71 version of the Colorado, which is the focus of this article.
The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado is easily one of the best-looking trucks in its segment with its curvy yet sturdy look. The wide headlights, large grille, sloping roofline and rather massive taillights give it a very sporty demeanour.
While the base versions don’t really offer much in terms of robustness, the LT, Z71 and ZR2 versions each offer interesting setups. There are unique features like new wheels and protection plates, and the choices in the product offering include three new colours: Crush, Pacific Blue Metallic and Shadow Gray Metallic.
For more individuality, you’ll want to consider the Midnight edition of the Colorado Z71. The package will set you back an addiitonal $3,460, but it adds black exterior trim, 31-inch off-road tires and all-season floor lining.
Large hauling ability but safety features lacking
As is the case with the majority of modern trucks, the cabin features, to the chagrin of bench lovers, two seats separated by a central console in the front.
The seats are firm and rather pleasant to sit in. The test vehicle came with heated seats and they’re also available on the LT and ZR2. On all three versions, buyers can add leather seating as well.
For the rear seats, well it's another story. The seats are small, forcing you to sit very upright, so the comfort level isn’t really that great. There’s also an abundance of mediocre materials like cheap plastics adorning the interior; overall, the quality is a little out of date for the segment.
The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 does come standard with power heated seats, heated steering wheel, automatic climate control, manual tailgate, manual sliding rear window and a remote starter.
Among the new technologies to highlight is the infotainment software incorporating the latest Chevrolet interface called "MyLink". It’s user-friendly and easy to operate thanks to physical buttons that allow operation even when wearing gloves. Well done!
Chevy has included more USB ports at the front and back. A high-definition rearview camera has been added as well as a new 7-inch touchscreen for the base models, increasing to 8 inches for LT versions and higher. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration is also included.
Safety features are a bit of a weak link in the chain for the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado. That’s not to say you won’t feel safe driving the pickup, which has many strengths, but it doesn’t have advanced technologies such as front collision warning, lane departure warning or even adaptive cruise control, unless you get the LT version or higher. I know it's tough to have everything but we're in 2019. These features can be found even in a Chevrolet Spark!
One area in which the Colorado keeps its head high versus the competition is in regards to its towing capacity, an impressive 7,000 lb (3,175 kg); that can even go up to 7,700 lb (3,493 kg) if you choose the diesel-engine option.
Under the hood
Chevrolet offers a selection of engines that can meet anyone’s needs. The base engine of the extended cab is a 2.5L 4-cylinder with a 6- or 8-speed automatic transmission. If you use your vehicle for light duty, it’ll be enough in terms of power and fuel efficiency.
For more power, a 3.6L V6 is available for $2,000 more. This engine is actually standard on all Crew Cab versions.
Our Colorado Z71 tester was equipped with the V6 engine making 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque in a four-wheel-configuration and an 8-speed automatic transmission. We can report that the power was substantial in this configuration!
A turbodiesel is optional for all trims except the base model. Although it produces only 181 hp, it offers a whopping 369 lb-ft of torque with a 6-speed automatic transmission. It’s worth noting that the Colorado is also one of only two small trucks to offer a diesel-engine choice.
As for gas mileage, our test V6 was nothing less than a glutton, consuming 16L/100 km in the city and about 11L/100 km on the highway.
Since we tested the Colorodo in winter, our vehicle was equipped with Michelin snow and ice tires. What really impressed us was Colorado's four-wheel drive system. In the midst of a blizzard, the difference between the two-wheel drive and the four-wheel drive was very apparent. Without all four wheels going, the vehicle was unstable in almost all situations, while in four-wheel drive, snow and ice were not a problem. Conversely, on a dry highway, I was able to cruise on two-wheel drive to save a bit of fuel.
The Colorado is agile but has some undesirable traits, which is to be expected from a pickup. Drifting in the snow can be fun, but when it comes time to work, the midsize Chevy is able to get the job done.
General Motors' 8-speed automatic transmission is an excellent choice for smooth gear changes and deserves praise.
The Competition: Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger
In the compact and midsize truck segment, the new kid on the block is the Ford Ranger, which is a modern and refined vehicle. The popular veteran is the Toyota Tacoma, a much more robust and elementary vehicle.
The Colorado sneaks between the two vehicles to make a nice mix, offering a smooth ride, comfortable even with the firm front seating. A base Tacoma costs $3,300 more, which is justified by better reliability and more security features.
The new Colorado starts at $29,245 for the base trim, which is one of the lowest prices in the segment. It will cost slightly more than $40,000 for the Z71 and more than $50,000 for a ZR2. The latter will certainly stand out but for that kind of big-league pricing you can easily obtain a full-size pickup instead.
The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado is a vehicle that might struggle because the competition offers higher quality interiors. It’s the range of engine options that will likely keep it relevant.
Comfortable ride and excellent handling on all surfaces (or almost)
A V6 engine that tows more than its competitors
The three powerful engine choices available to drivers
Ergonomic and easy-to-use cabin controls
Too few security features
Price goes up quickly with options
The quality of the cabin needs to be addressed